Sunday, April 26, 2009

Be Angry but Sin Not!!!

Anger...where does a God fearing saint put anger?

I felt I could blow flames out of my mouth this week. My anger was not for my needs but those that work under me. The Mamma Tiger came up in me. Thank God, Self control was present. I never said a word.

But I stewed for a day or two. I feel so much better about many things that came up in this fire blast. I won't go into details but it has stirred my thoughts on how we misunderstand ourselves.

I think I fear being angry. I'm wondering if I assume all anger is bad. That cannot be so, since God gave us anger. He Himself tells over and over in the Bible how He becomes angry and Jesus Christ displayed anger.

What do you do with anger?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Faith Shows Up in Fear

"Why don't we come together in agreement in prayer for you to be released from this pressure at work?" I asked an overwhelmed woman dear to my heart yesterday. She had ranted for 10 minutes that she was losing her mind at her job.

To my surprise she quickly said, "No, I'm not ready for that yet."

I was a bit taken back when suddenly I realized she KNEW God would move in her situation if we came in agreement in prayer. This young woman has been close to me for over 40 years. She's alive today because of answered prayer miracles in saving her life a decade ago. In the past she's seen God move to level some mountains hindering her life as we have prayed together.

I calmly replied, "Well, I love you and I agree this job is hurting your overall life. When you're ready I'll pray for God to release you by strengthening you to handle the burden or take you out of the job. Just call when you're ready."

Folks, that's faith!!! I hear many people flippantly say, "I'll be praying for you. Or please pray for me." I don't see them operating in any awareness of the power of prayer.

BUT this young woman called me off because of her faith in God in our joined prayers. She's still stressed to her eyeballs. She hates her job, except for the paycheck. She encouraged my faith by her caution. She wasn't quite ready for the rush of wind and the dramatic way God might answer our prayer. No, she wants to hold on to the side of the wall and steady herself for a move of God!!!

How's your faith? Do you stand in awe of the possibility of God instantly answering your prayers?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Purpose to Stay In Christ No Matter What

Rush, minutes to think few and far between, BUT....I purpose in my heart to pull away and dwell on those things that are of God. I intentionally see myself In Christ. My work is at fever pitch pace. For a short while that will be o.k., and in times past I neglected my quiet devotional time with the Lord. But I'm older and wiser now. I may not eat leisurely, but I will make a way to have that time with the Lord.

Today I hit on this in one of my journals. This will frame my busy busy day. No matter what torpedoes fly past me I will purpose to frame my
mind and actions with this Word!

Galatians 5:22-23

NIV .................................The Message
Love............................... Affection for others
Joy .................................Exuberance about life
Peace .............................Serenity
Patience ........................Willingness to stick with things
Kindness ........................Compassion in the heart
Goodness .......................Basic holiness is in all things
& people
Faithfulness.................. Loyal commitments
Gentleness .....................No need to force my way
Self-Control ....................Able to direct energies wisely

"The sad reality is that most of us will not go forward until the pain of staying where we are is unbearable."

"O God, I thank You for Your grace and mercy in my life. If it were not for You, I would not even be aware of You or my need for Your transforming work deep beneath the surface of my life. Lord, give me the courage to be honest and to allow the Holy Spirit's power to invade all of who I am below the surface of my iceberg so that Jesus might be formed in me. Lord, help me to grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is for me personally. In Jesus' name, amen."

page 21 Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero Thomas Nelson Inc.

Emotional Health is concerned with :

1. Name and recognize and manage my own feelings

2. Identify with and have active compassion for others

3. Initiate and maintain close and meaningful relationships with others

4. Break free from self-destructive patterns

5. Be aware of how my past impacts my present

6. Develop the capacity to express my thoughts and feelings clearly, both verbally and nonverbally

7. Respect and love others without having to change them

8. As for what I need, want or prefer with clarity, directly and respectfully

9. Accurately self assess my strengths, limits, and weaknesses and freely share them with others

10. Learn the capacity to resolve conflict maturely and negotiate solutions that consider the perspectives of others

11. Grieve well

12. Contemplative spirituality

13. Awake and surrender to God's love in any and every situation

14. Position myself to hear God and remember His presence in all I do

15. Commune with God, allowing Him to fully indwell the depth of my being

16. Practice silence, solitude, and a life of unceasing prayer

17. Rest attentively in the presence of God

18. Understand my earthly life as a journey of transformation toward ever increasing union with God

19. Finding the true essence of who I am in God

20. Loving others out of a life of love for God

21. Develop a balanced harmonious rhythm of life that enables me to be aware of all that is sacred in all of life. Live in committed community that passionately loves Jesus above all else.

You are Above All, Jesus, I lift You UP!!! Amen

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Christianity Works Best with Us; Not Me

Today I spent a few minutes with a wonderful young man I mentored last year. He had been through an ordeal that could have complicated his life unbelievably. He saw how people let him down, but I saw the strategy of our number one enemy in this spiritual warfare. From my viewpoint I saw the devious strategy of the sneaky attacks on this young overcomer. BUT just in time; Truth came forth and he acted quickly and he was totally spared.

I almost danced a jig.... right there in the clothing store where this young man works. He saw my joy; and he got it! Heaven swept down in time to save him right in the middle of the mess. "I never looked at all that, Ms. Kay. But I see it; I was spared and I praise God for protecting me."

As I left, I thought of times others have helped me see the "bigger picture" in my spiritual journey. I'm convinced God means for us to be there for one another in ways beyond worshipping and Bible study together.

The author of Hebrews warns us of trying to make it alone:

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. "Hebrews 10:25 King James Version

"Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25 AMPLIFIED

I found a wonderful blog article by Alan Knox: He tells the God's truth beautifully on "being there for one another."

So, the opposite of "not forsaking" is "encouraging". This also is very important. The author wants the readers (and us) to think seriously about how to stimulate other believers toward "love and good deeds".

How does he expect us to do that? He does not want us to "forsake" our meeting together, but instead he wants us to encourage one another. Apparently, some were already "forsaking" their meeting together. (I have previously published an examination of this word "forsaking" in a post called "
Not Forsaking the Assembling of Ourselves Together". In that post, I argue that "not forsaking" means something like "not giving up your responsibilities".)

The author of Hebrews expects us to lead others toward a life of love and good deeds. In order to do this, he understands that we must encourage one another. Instead, he finds that some of the believers are giving up their responsibilities when they meet together. This could happen in several ways, at least two of which come to mind.

First, the believers could stop meeting together. If this happened, then they would not be able to carry out their responsibilities toward one another; they would not be able to encourage one another. They would be "forsaking" their meeting together. This is usually the only case that is considered, and it is usually assumed that this "meeting together" must be an official meeting (sometimes called "Sunday Morning Worship Service").

However, this is not what the text says. Instead, the author could have any meeting of believers in view. If the readers stopped meeting with other believers at all, then they could not encourage one another.

Second, the believers may have been meeting with one another, but they were neglecting their responsibilities toward one another. In this case, they were still guilty of "forsaking" their assembling together. In other words, attendance alone does not allow a believer to keep this command.

Meeting with other believers plus encouraging other believers is necessary to carry out the meaning of this passage.But, when we gather together, surely believers are encouraged even if we do nothing, right? Yes, but that is not the point here. Other believers may have drawn near to God, but that does not mean that I have. Other believers may be holding fast to the confession of faith, but it doesn't mean that I am.

Other believers may be thinking about others and how to stir up love and good deeds within them, but it doesn't mean that I do that.Just as the other commands are individual requirements ("draw near" and "hold fast"), so also this command is an individual requirement.Think about this carefully. If this examination is correct, then no group, church, leader, organization, pastor, preacher, etc. can carry out this requirement for you.

God expects each individual believer to build up other believers by thinking carefully about them and stirring up love and good deeds within them, by not neglecting their responsibilities when they meet, but by encouraging other believers.I am afraid that in many cases, believers have neglected this command, and have handed their responsibilities over to others. Many times, believers are happy to sit, sing, and listen, because they think they are obeying God by attending.

Is God interested in attendance? No more than he was interested in burnt offerings and sacrifice. God is interested in obedience.One more point before I finish. Notice that, in this passage, there is no particular meeting in view. This means that anytime believers get together, they have responsibilities toward one another... whether they are gathering officially on Sunday mornings, or whether they get together for coffee.

We must never neglect our responsibilities toward one another, but instead we must encourage one another.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Word Anemic Saints

"When can I study the Bible...every minute is taken by the urgent!!!" That's my gut feeling with this new job. This phase of work will be over in 8-12 weeks, but it's moving like a loaded train down a steep hill. I'm thanking God for the pressure because I mentor working mothers and I tell them continually, "You won't make it as a Christian without your daily "Bread;" the Bread of Life." Preaching that is quite simple when you live a steady semi-retired life. Living my preaching isn't easy now that I'm back in the captain's chair with people above me pressuring me with new deadlines; and people below me catching what I have to pass down to them.

BUT...I know if I don't feed on the Word of God, I'm done for. I learned that in the trenches as a working mom and wife. I rise early to have quiet time and Bible study with the Lord to cry out to Him for the wisdom and strength to do this work.

I have dealt with anemia a few times in my life and I sense that the lack of private time in God's Word is similar in a spiritual sense to anemia in my physical health. Anemia would sneak up on me when I was younger. I'd being going along fine, and then I felt like someone poked a hole in my gas tank and I was running on empty. Recently I read in a medical article that people usually don't notice the symptoms of anemia, because it develops slowly and the symptoms may be mild. It's only when it gets worse that the symptoms are severe enough to seek medical help.

In my case it was a dietary need. I know in this time pressured job if I am not careful with my spiritual and mental diet, I will risk anemia. I live by the Word of God and God's call in my life NOW. A Word that came to me in the past blesses me; but His fresh Word is what sustains and lifes me.

I rise early to have the quiet time to "eat" and "chew" on the Bread of Life: God's Holy Bible. I dare not put off the main sustenance in my daily life for fear of "spiritual anemia."

Got a word on the Word?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He's Alive

He's Alive!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Finally I Discover How To Call A Large Prayer Meeting

Last night I dropped by Wal Mart about dusk. Finally I was ready to check out and head home when suddenly the heavens roared and the wind blew the heavy doors open. People in front of me were frightened because a friend called with news a twister was spotted in Salem, SC. One woman teared up and admitted she panics in storms. Then they got news that a funnel cloud was spotted in Clemson, SC only 15 miles from us.

I decided not to go home. I found a good doorway with several walls between the outside and the interior walls and planted myself. Brave folks ran out the door while fierce winds were blowing debris and water into the store. Soaked to the bone, they ran back in warning the rest of us not to try to leave.

I began to pray in a soft voice when another Christian came over and prayed. Finally there were three of us softly praying. People started gathering and silently chose to stand near us. I smiled Heavenward and thought, "So, this is how you get a large number to show up for prayer!"

For years I've noticed at conferences that prayer groups or prayer studies are always small in number. Bible students that accompany me to meetings are always surprised Christians don't choose to show up for prayer times or prayer studies often. And without fail we show up for prayer emphasis and we could gather in a closet no matter who the speaker may be. So, I usually try to title a gathering with something other than "Prayer study, or come to pray."

Well, last night's storm motivated people to want to gather to pray. They wanted to be standing near praying folks. So I get it: you have to have a crisis to have a large enthusiastic prayer meeting.

We're all safe. I was shocked driving home; no traffic lights for miles and a huge.... 100 foot tall oak tree had been pulled up from the roots and was totally blocking the main access to my drive way. I wondered if I had tried to make it in the storm would I have been at that point coming home when it fell? I don't know; but I wouldn't be writing this had I been at that spot at that moment.

I've made peace with small prayer groups, but I'm glad I know what motivates large numbers of people to pray together!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Keep The People First and Project Second

I'm dragging and writing this with my last ounce of energy. But I want to write this while my heart is full. Today my class of recruits for a new work just completed a hard week of tiresome training. I worked on this training for weeks. I got focused on the mission at hand and I had my act together.

I prayed for God to direct me and a few days from the beginning of the classes I was hit with thoughts showing me I was focusing on specifics of the project to the point I was not thinking of the people who would be coming to the classes. From that moment on I switched my priorities.

The class had a final exam hours ago. It was quite difficult and 99% passed and a few were nearly perfect. They were thrilled to pass and they all told me as fast paced as it was they had a great time. God impressed upon me to keep their attention, their needs as a group and individually foremost in my mind. I'm being paid to instruct, but people learn best when they're relaxed and they know they matter.

What a great week....I'm slam tired, but I'm so thankful I was teachable enough to change gears in time. The project was a roaring success because it took its rightful place: number 2. Once the people knew they were number 1, they wanted to fulfill the mission. With the priorities in proper order the project goals were not only met but exceeded.

Thank you, God, for keeping me in line with You. I pray that You always keep me centered on the main things that matter to You. Amen.

Night Folks..........I'm done.............really done with a smile on my face.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ouch: Walking The Talk

Faith and trust in God was the underlying theme of this week's posts. Yesterday I shared some of my tests of my faith that God shows up. But it ended up being a hard hard week. I won't share the details, but I ended up having to live out what I was "preaching."

Wherever you and I shine the glory of God we must know that we will be tried and tested on our testimony. I am always listening to Heaven and seeking God so that in all things I am in place with what pleases Him.

If you are new in teaching, writing or speaking let an old woman clue you into a sure fact. Whenever you sense God is calling you to communicate patience I promise you that you will be pushed to the limit of your patience while you preparing and delivering that message. When you close and all of you say "Amen," you will know patience to a greater level than you did initially.

I can only guess what Bruce Wilkerson went through in his study and writing of "The Prayer of Jabez," since Jabez's name means pain and suffering.

I never back off when I begin a project or even a post here at Thrive Christians, but I do brace myself for the testing. As I was keying in the ending of yesterday's post "In God We Trust," I thought, "Oh boy...wonder what's next?" Within minutes the storm kicked up and I had to trust God or despair.

The good news: He went before me. He was with me. In the end, life is better for all of us working through this challenge. I will be blessed greater than before because of this storm. Nowhere in my Bible does God tell me His Way is easy, but He tells me, in Him I can do all things.

I've never loved God more and I've never seen Him work more miraculously in my life and others. Easy; NO....amazing life .... OH, YES!!!

This week I keep thinking of the disciples near the end of Jesus life on earth wanting front row seating in Heaven. James and John's mother asked Jesus to position her sons in the "best seats."

Matthew 20:22-23 But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?* They said to him, ‘We are able.’ 23He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’

Walking out our testimony and teachings involve "drinking the Cup." Sad to say on days like yesterday I used to feel heroic. But now,
I know this is privilege. To share in the sufferings of Christ is my reward.

Henri Nouwen, "Drinking the cup is an act of selfless love, an act of immense trust, an act of surrender to a God who will give what we need when we need it."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Trust Related to Meekness

Talking about meekness has opened many of you to share your struggles as Christians to be teachable and workable. As I read your comments I thought of "trouble" at home or in church or at work. Relationships break under the pressure of the unteachable, arrogant, self-protective mindsets.

Since all of us know these truths why do we keep stiffing up to be sure we always look good and blameless? Why do we keep ourselves foremost in our own minds?

As I prayed about this I felt my problem is my lack of full trust in God. When I know that I know beyond any doubts that He is with me and the battle is His; I can lay down my personal needs for His Kingdom and the good of others.

Sometimes it seems impossible not to look out for no. 1. One day last week a friend was devastated with a job loss and dire money needs. She phoned sobbing on the phone. I was undone. I think I scored a D as far as being an encouraging prayer warrior. Alone I prayed and a puzzling thought kept coming to me as though God was saying "Will any of you ever trust Me?"

Later as I prayed for this friend I sensed that I needed to believe God would meet her needs. I felt I needed to be careful from falling into any judgment of what I might think she could have done better. I also began to feel guilty for my own new job and how much I am enjoying the challenge and the pay. Somehow I felt she needed it more than I did. Up and down my emotions went like a yo yo on a string.

She phoned in a day with a lift to her voice. Miraculously they called her back to the job, and in the few days she was out of work another company called her for a one day job. Everything was better than could be expected. Suddenly the thoughts of my prayer came back to me, "Will any of you ever trust Me?"

Why do we quickly fall into despair when trouble hits? Why do we have so little trust that God is with us? Why do we panic and feel hopeless when it appears all is lost? Is it that we don't believe Heaven can make a difference in this harsh cold world?

When Jesus Christ is number 1; we are submissive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and strong gentleness could best describe us. Then...

We shine hope where there may not be any visible evidence for hope.

We don't have to be right.

We never need to shift blame when we err.

Others' needs matter as much as our needs.

Pleasing God by living out what we "see" from the Bible sets our day.

Love is the core of our life.

Being seen, heard or known takes a backseat to Jesus being seen, heard and known.

Meekness/teachable living is impossible for mere humans. I strongly believe we may only cry out for God to crucify our flesh and then when we abide in the Presence of God. As we live continually in Him, we can be like a great powerful horse. A neck rein trained horse will respond to a slight touch of a rein on their neck and their power is never wasted. They never break loose in destruction and racing randomly. Imagine if we die to self and come alive in Him how our talents and strengths will bring His Kingdom here on earth now.

Getting to meekness costs us the pain of letting go of self mastery. I'm not there, but I'm willing. My mastery and control of me doesn't work. I trust Him. I choose to believe His Word: Isaiah 41:13 "For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."

At times, I tend to be afraid to let go. When I let go, I'm giving up control. I don't like feeling a loss of control. But I finally get it: I never am truly in control at all; otherwise, I wouldn't be struggling and worrying without progress. I must remember He is God! He gives me peace: Jeremiah 32:27 "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?"

In God We Trust

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Meek? Me...? Why?

Meek: Jesus and Moses are the Bible's greatest examples of meekness. Your comments yesterday fit my own reaction years ago when I felt God calling me to meekness. Who me? "People will run over me and I'll be finished," were my first thoughts.

Our English language limits our grasp of the Bible's call for meekness in saints. Mistakenly we assume that God is calling us to being "nice" at any price. That spells weakness to me. But the Bible tells us that Moses and Jesus were meek. Neither of them demonstrate weakness on any level to me.

I use the term "Strong Gentleness" often and that is my desire at all times. Meekness in the Biblical sense is a virtue that is compatible with strength under control: strong gentleness

True meekness is always measured by Christ's meekness. Jesus' humility, patience, and total submission of His own will to the will of the Father exemplifies meekness.

Charles H. Spurgeon, a Protestant preacher of the nineteenth century, comments, "The way to rise in the kingdom is to sink in ourselves" (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 21).

It is this realization of our utter unworthiness, a sense of spiritual need and destitution, that drives us to seek Christ to lift it. As I walk in meekness I know moment by moment I need the Lord in all things.

I grasp deep meanings of words by exploring opposites. Help me out with opposite words connected with meekness as the Bible calls us to be meek like Jesus and Moses. Please add to my list....

Pride in self/knowledge........Meek

Arrogant/Know it all.................Teachable
Rough,uncaring........................ Gentleness
Self-concern .....................Awareness of others
Self-protection................ No need to always be right
Speak mind quickly....... Listen compassionately
Tough guy/girl ... ..........God controlled strength

I love dialogue; add to this list. May we embrace God's call of meekness.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

4 Letter Word That Makes Saints Squirm

Meek is a word that can turn off the best of us saints. Honestly opening myself to areas I can grow and become more Christ-like is painful. Years ago in a leadership conference I was blessed with an evaluation by John Trent. In preparing for my supervisory position in my new job I prayed for God to lead me to His excellence.

On my bookshelf was that old binder holding my personal evaluation. There are many points of my strengths, but the part I haven't wanted to concentrate on are also there. I am using this year long job to grow in those areas that were pointed out to be weaknesses.

Weakness, lack, less than best...why do I resist looking at these areas as opportunities? I look at them, but it's usually when I'm having a "poor ole' Kay" day. I've spoken of the power of meekness in a saint in earlier posts. But I will never grow in Christ unless I am meek: teachable. Since I'm dead to my flesh (wanting to promote ME above all else); why am I so self protective? Isn't this what God promises? He will take the weak to demonstrate His weakness is where His supernatural can be manifest. Others who are keenly aware of my weaknesses can be blessed if I am meek/teachable. As they see Christ come in my human limitations they may see Christ.

2009 is a squeeze for everyone in the world! When we are squeezed our limitations are revealed. I'm opening up for Holy Spirit to teach me His ways when I see MY ways limited and poor. Meekness is a virtue I treasure. Teachable is who I hope I am; teachable is who I pray work under me.

Where are you on the meekness: teachable scale?
© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.